Alice Abrams Siegal

Activist and community organizer Alice Abrams Siegal.

Photo courtesy of Joan Roth.

“This Was Just Too Much”

“I’d say one of the first incidents of discrimination that really struck me and made me so angry was when I graduated from Garfield High School in June of 1941 and they had a senior party. I didn’t know how it was organized, but it was at a country club at the north end of the lake. When I got there, I looked around and there were no people of color there, and we had a large number of African American and Asian students. That just made me very angry and I wondered, ‘How did this happen, why did this happen?’ Of course I already knew that Jews were excluded from certain institutions and that there was discrimination. I was certainly aware of prejudice. But this to me was just too much. So that made me very angry.”

Japanese American Internment Camps

“When World War II broke out, and hearing the proclamation that all the Japanese Americans had to go to camps, I was really outraged. There was a Japanese family that had a grocery store close to where we lived. Of course they had to close. And I knew they were about my age, and there were others. The Asian areas were just cleaned out. There was no evidence that they were involved in any kind of activities that were dangerous to the country. So that was another experience that just felt so wrong, and really hurt.”

Judaism and Social Justice

“I always felt like I was different from everybody. I guess because of the fact that I felt things so strongly about the injustices that I saw around me. My grandparents and my parents were very good about giving and sharing what they had. And so that was one of the elements of Judaism. I suppose this idea of social justice tied in with my Jewish background, and my Judaism. That’s been very important to me.”

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Jewish Women's Archive. "Alice Abrams Siegal." (Viewed on April 16, 2024) <>.